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Alibaba Singles Day Sales Surpass $2B

E-commerce behemoth Alibaba has shattered last year’s sales record on the country’s annual buying frenzy Singles Day, on November 11, in the tenth year of the tradition.

At two minutes after midnight on Saturday, 10 billion yuan ($2 billion AUD) in purchases had been made, and 213.5 billion yuan ($42.5 billion AUD) by the end of the day.

There were some concerns in the lead up to the event, as the economy has slowed, and its stock dropped 16% thanks to China’s trade war with the US.

However, spending was up 24% over last year but was the lowest annual increase in the tradition.

Singles Day began as a joke event by single university students in the 1990s, as a response to Valentine’s Day. In Chinese, it’s referred to as “Double 11” as in 11/11.

The holiday was commandeered by online retailers in 2009 and become China’s annual version of Cyber Monday.

The event began with a large gala showcasing US singer Mariah Carey, a Japanese Beyoncé impersonator, and a Cirque du Soleil performance that was shoe-shopping themed.

Some 180,000 brands were available in the shopping spree, including big tech names Apple and Dyson.

Last year, Alibaba expanded the event to the Western market, with downloads of its app AliExpress in the US and UK.

This year’s Singles Day is expected to be the last for Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, as they announced in September that their current chief executive will take over as chairman next year.

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